Some quick thoughts in the aftermath of the Las Vegas tragedy, the scope of Homeland Security efforts... and MORE!
American Opportunity
A/O Global Intelligence Weekly: Las Vegas and Homeland Security
The tragic attacks in Las Vegas appear to have been the deranged behavior of a "lone wolf" rather than a part of any terrorist conspiracy. This attack underscores the danger we all face from any deranged attacker. The responsibility to identify such violent persons rests with all of us who have knowledge of such aberrant behavior that may manifest itself in a random attack on innocents. As citizens we have a responsibility to report such dangerous people to the proper authorities, even if that dangerous person is a family member or loved one.

The attack also underscores the findings of the Congressional Advisory Commission on Homeland Security (also known as the Gilmore Commission) which emphasized that the country remains simply too big for a federal response for every attack on the homeland.

The responsibility and the credit for a proper response rests with the local authorities who have that duty. Federal authorities can occasionally help and target dangerous groups and individuals and prevent attacks, but the responsibility rests with local governments and local communities to prepare and respond.

Yet already, we are hearing calls from the political left for gun confiscation and European style restrictions on firearms.  That is the wrong answer. 

The political left in this country should refrain from using this tragedy to reassert their attacks on the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution by calling for the abolition of firearms in the hands of our citizens. The elimination of our constitutional rights will never make us a safer country.   Take away all of our rights, and we will remain no safer than the victims of "lone wolf" terrorist attacks in Marseille, France, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada -- all of which have resulted in deaths and injuries by stabbing or the use of vehicles.

We should remind ourselves that despite the increased media attention, the number of violent crimes in the United States are at historic lows.  There is absolutely zero correlation between firearm ownership and violent crime.  Moreover, such cries for gun confiscation ring hollow as places such as Chicago are nearing their 600th murder this year.  Surely if there is a crisis, treating the symptoms by restricting rights does precious little to help the victims of gang violence in America's inner cities. 

Miscreants will always find a weapon to kill for a political or criminal purpose. The Las Vegas attack does not at this time appear to be a political attack on our homeland, yet it is a stark reminder that threats to our homeland security remain legion.

More after the jump. . .
Joim American Opportunity

During times such as these when Americans are suffering in the aftermath of another lawless act, it is difficult to have the policy conversation over homeland security.  Nevertheless, it's worth the effort to remind our fellow Americans that we live in a dangerous world where our law enforcement personnel can mitigate -- but cannot prevent -- violence and harm from impacting the American public.

Given that the term "homeland security" arose in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, it is very common to consider the term as intrinsically linked with preventing Islamist-based terrorism.  Yet taking a step back, one can see the homeland security encompasses a very broad section of security concerns: drug enforcement, economic security, hardening key infrastructure points, providing relief from natural disasters, and securing logistics chains from energy to food.

This effort to prevent what are known as "black swan" events is part of the game.  Sometimes, you don't know what you don't know, and in a nation of 320 million people being able to provide for every contingency and eventuality can seem like a fool's errand at best.  Other times, there are some events that you know will occur -- hurricanes and earthquakes -- but can never be certain of when.  For such events, securing the homeland requires a state of readiness that may seem like waste in the good years, but wise and prudent planning when required (our military strength is but one example of such prudence).

As I mentioned when the Gilmore Commission wrapped up in 2003, the dream of "total security" is precisely that -- a dream.  Should we pursue it ideallistically, the results will not give us a utopia -- but a dystopian hell that certainly no one would ever want to live in.  

Freedom and security are delicate things, yet the balance between license and tyranny isn't the security state -- but liberty.  Certainly rural America doesn't require a New York-style security apparatus, yet at the same token hardening every location where two or more are gathered against violence or catastrophe is quite simply an unrealistic and impossible task.

Our best security against violence is vigilance.  Vigilance in our surroundings and among our loved ones; vigilance when it comes to what is important.  No American should be asked to live in fear, but every American should be able to work, eat, sleep, live and play in the knowledge that everything humanly possible can and will be done to protect our homeland against disruption.  

Some news and articles we recommend for information and discussion purposes, none of which necessarily represent the position of A/O:

‚ÄčAs always, American Opportunity is always looking for new resources and topics we can address in detail.  Please feel free to stay in contact! 

Sincerely,  

Jim Gilmore
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